It’s important to us to understand why this is happening, so we can differentiate between ‘fashion’ and ‘substance’.

Growth in the interest around modern atomic technology right now, appears to be fuelled by a growing realisation that we can’t achieve our climate goals with renewables alone, but that a combination of wind, solar, some gas and atomic is the way forward.

Massive wind farms and huge solar farms are increasingly seen as detrimental to nature and not effective at producing meaningful energy. This, together with a new curiosity about what the next generation of atomic power systems can achieve is turning heads all over the world.

The magic is in the combination, and we’re seeing a shift in that direction.

At the centre of course is a better understanding of radiation.  Is radiation safe?

Radiation occurs naturally and comes from sources all around us, including our own bodies. Radiation is often misunderstood, but it helps to both combat climate change and cure disease.

Experts who understand radiation made a very good attempt at explaining it here, https://www.world-nuclear.org/nuclear-essentials/is-radiation-safe.aspx

The all-pervasive fear of radiation propagated by an ill-prepared media after the Chernobyl accident has caused more harm than good.

Without radiation, there would be no life on this planet.

The sun is massively radioactive, but we’re far enough away for the dose to be sufficiently low for us.

Low does is good, big dose is bad. 

It’s really the same with almost anything our food and drink to our habits and interests. We know not to put our hand in the fire.

The fear of radiation has driven us rapidly into the arms of ‘renewables’ without the real proper care for what it takes to extract power from solar and wind energy. Mining, manufacturing and resulting waste on massive scale is the result, and we have to limit that by combining energy sources.

We’re seeing a much more nuanced debate now.

Here is one of the articles we published, in case you missed it.

• https://splash247.com/the-nuclear-option/

Questions are being asked about the viability of ‘renewables’ and is that term really the correct term for solar, wind, hydro and wave power? We think of renewable as synonymous with sustainable, but that increasingly seems incorrect.

Sustainability accounts for the Total Life Cycle. 

Not just operational effect, but the energy, materials, transport and impact of the environment of everything from ‘birth to earth’.

Sphera looked at the The Art of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) looking at the extraction of raw materials, the manufacturing of the product, the use of that product and the end of that product’s life, and came up with some deep insights that are well worth exploring. You can read it here: https://sphera.com/blog/the-art-of-life-cycle-assessment

When we do that; look at the total life cycle of the building, running and scrapping of our industries, our transport and our infrastructures, we soon realise that it takes more than just ideology and good intentions to make a meaningful impact.

The OECD led the charge.

They said this summer that during a period of economic recovery, large scale and long term energy infrastructure projects, such as nuclear power plants, can galvanise the social cohesion and economic spill overs required to re-launch general economic activity.

How about that?

Here’s the OECD report: https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Invest-in-nuclear-to-galvanise-growth-says-OECD-NE

The IAEA, the heart of our industry, weighed in too and pointed out that Nuclear Energy for non-electric applications is the key to climate change mitigation. This is their report: https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/nuclear-energy-for-non-electric-applications-key-for-climate-change-mitigation

Not only is demand growing for electricity and water; the world needs a solution that preserves the climate too. New reactor types will cut the cooling water used by more than 90 percent.  Read more here: https://www.nei.org/news/2020/nuclear-solution-for-climate-energy-water

For more than a half century, nuclear power has been focused on one kind of plant: a huge, complicated, expensive facility, with armed guards, located away from cities and next to a river.

Now, with the molten salt reactor energy systems that we are working on for transport and industry, smaller atomic machines and nuclear plants could come with much less stringent safety rules too. Not because we don’t want rules, but because the simplicity and inherent walk-away safety from MSR technology doesn’t warrant complex, restrictive rules like conventional nuclear does.

Read more here: https://www.wgbh.org/news/national-news/2020/08/01/smaller-nuclear-plants-may-come-with-less-stringent-safety-rules

At the end of the day atomic power is critical to fighting climate change.

If the world is serious about reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, electricity will have to play a much bigger role with nuclear energy taking an important major part in the mix. https://talknuclear.ca/2020/07/lets-be-clear-its-clean/

Safety regulations on a 3.5 GW second generation power plant built in the 1970s cannot be applied to a state-of-the-art, small molten salt reactor, but with possibly hundreds of designs being worked on worldwide, regulators are faced with the challenge of applying overarching laws that can effectively govern the next generation. 

Things have to change, and they will. https://analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.com/regulators-tackle-smrs-give-them-room-grow

Why?

Because demand is building. 

Transport and industrial end user demand is leading investors to see that there is a big opportunity here to invest in something durable, profitable and game changing. That will take us deep into the future, in a way that solar and wind simply cannot do on its own, because it was never meant to.

The opportunity to provide carbon-free atomic power to pair with renewables, combined with promises of increased safety over traditional nuclear plants, appear to be opening the door to the use of small modular reactors (SMRs) as a source of baseload power. Read it here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mergermarket/2020/08/12/investors-get-charge-out-of-small-modular-nuclear-reactors/

Michael Shellenberger, who we think is striking many of the right balances between hype and reality in the climate debate, said that the ‘Reason Renewables Can’t Power Modern Civilization Is Because They Were Never Meant To’. He argues that Germans believed that the billions they spent on renewables would redeem them. Many of them will insist that the renewables effort was merely “botched,” but it wasn’t, it’s much simpler than that.

Please read Michael’s article here: https://www-forbes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/05/06/the-reason-renewables-cant-power-modern-civilization-is-because-they-were-never-meant-to/amp/

This stuff is getting noticed.

All over the world now, offshore wind is gaining traction as people reject wind towers in their home environments. RWE’s manager in the UK, Tom Glover admitted this summer that ‘It’s not great for the wind industry that local people are upset’. Here is what they said: https://www.rechargenews.com/wind/its-not-great-for-the-wind-industry-that-local-people-are-upset-rwe-uk-chief-backs-grid-shake-up/

So, wind moves offshore to be more ‘out of sight and out of mind’.

Massive amounts of money are in play here.

Just look at what the World Forum for Offshore Wind (WFO) said in its Global Offshore Wind Report. Globally 2,535 MW of offshore wind capacity went into operation during HY1 2020. In total global offshore wind installations reached 29,839 MW by the end of June 2020. https://gwec.net/global-offshore-wind-report-2020/

It’s huge!

That by the way, coincided with the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) another action group, which stated that “Cheap” offshore wind power is an illusion.

They say that back in 2017, there was great excitement among environmentalists and the media, when it was announced that two offshore windfarms had bid remarkably low prices into the government’s Contracts for Difference auction. Now that is not the way it has turned out. You can read their report here: https://www.thegwpf.com/offshore-wind-definitely-expensive/

The International Energy Agency (IEA), run out of Paris, gave us all a heads up about this back in February. You can read their report “Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2020“, here.

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation.pdf

It is leading us to believe that efforts to combat climate change with ideas like biofuel (a disaster for the environment), wind (not reliable enough to make a meaningful impact), solar (a scarce commodity most places) is increasingly promoted for ‘green capital’ to make more money, and not necessarily for the common good.

It’s increasingly becoming long term trust exchanged for short term gain.

That was not lost of the Whistle-blowers in Washington DC.

They warned this summer that the Fossil Fuel Industry’s deception about climate risks represents a ticking time bomb threatening the global financial system.

Actually, they concluded that deception about the financial risks of climate change is pervasive across the fossil fuel industry and that the growing role of whistle-blowers in the fight against fraud means the handful of pending securities fraud cases challenging these deceptions represent just the tip of the iceberg. Please read the item: https://www.whistleblowers.org/news/new-report-warns-that-fossil-fuel-industry-deception-about-climate-risks-represents-a-ticking-time-bomb-threatening-the-global-financial-system/

Modern atomic technology is receiving a lot of the attention now as the we realise that there is no silver bullet in ‘renewables’ alone.

A hydrogen economy cannot be built to be sustainable without atomic power, and the molten salt reactor is the perfect tool to help make that happen.

We must embrace the possible and leave our preconceived bias behind.